Headstart Program for the Critically Endangered Jamaican Iguana (Cyclura collei)
For the past 30 years, Hope Zoo has been home to the headstart program for the Jamaican Iguana—often housing over 400 iguanas at the zoo which have been collected from the wild as hatchlings and raised at our zoo for 4-6 years before being reintroduced back into the wild. This protects baby iguanas from being killed by invasive mongoose, cats, dogs, and pigs—their primary threats in the wild.
Hope Zoo has been one of the essential components ensuring the survival and recovery of this Critically Endangered species, with over 550 iguanas released back into the wild to date.
We are one of the key stakeholders in the Jamaican Iguana Recovery Group, along with our local colleagues at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Urban Development Corporation (UDC), University of the West Indies (UWI), Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (CCAM), Institute of Jamaica, and our international colleagues at the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group, Fort Worth Zoo (Texas, USA), San Diego Zoo (California, USA), and the International Iguana Foundation (IIF).